Rough regular season or historic tournament run? What’s more meaningful when reviewing men’s basketball’s season?


Connor Lawless

Quinnipiac men’s basketball is the only No. 11 seed to reach the semifinals in men’s MAAC tournament history.

Toyloy Brown III, Managing Editor

How should the Quinnipiac men’s basketball 2021-22 season be remembered?

There is no way to sugarcoat it: The Bobcats had a disappointing regular season. They lost their last six games and finished with a 12-16 overall record before the postseason. After being ranked ninth out of 11 MAAC teams in the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Quinnipiac ended the season in last place.

Or should this group be remembered for its postseason run in Atlantic City?

No. 11 Quinnipiac defeated No. 6 Marist 77-52 in the opening round. It buried more 3-pointers (17)  in one game than any other game over the last two seasons and held the Red Foxes to a season-low in points.

In the quarterfinals, Quinnipiac knocked off No. 3 Siena 77-71, staving off a second-half comeback and keeping All-MAAC Second Team guard Colby Rogers in check.

Quinnipiac was sent home from the MAAC tournament semifinals 64-52 by No. 2 Saint Peter’s, a team that has gone on to March Madness and upset No. 2 Kentucky in the Round of 64 and No. 7 Murray State in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament.

While the Bobcats fell one win short of the MAAC championship game, this is how head coach Baker Dunleavy will remember this year’s squad.

“The team that quite obviously just had a lot of grit, not necessarily defined by the record, but defined by their improvement, and their mental toughness,” Dunleavy said.

This year’s Bobcats have to be remembered for both the regular season and the tournament, their highs and lows. The success the team experienced cannot be appreciated the same without battle wounds it sustained in losses.

“It’s easy to break apart when things go against you and you lose games,” graduate student forward Jacob Rigoni said. “We really, truly did believe in ourselves and … when we come together and play that way, we’re capable of anything. We’re one of the best teams in the league.”

The losses Quinnipiac experienced not only made the wins feel sweeter, but it cemented its journey in MAAC history, becoming the first-ever No. 11 seed to make the men’s tournament semifinals.

The historic accomplishment was only achieved through the things Dunleavy said — “grit” and “mental toughness.” This Quinnipiac team that ended as one of the final four teams in Atlantic City is not only “defined by the record” but by its “improvement.”

This improvement may not only apply to the players but also to its coaching staff, a crew that kept a team’s belief in itself.

As next season is Dunleavy’s last year under contract as head coach, his mediocre win-loss record over his five total seasons (66-81) can be consequential.

Questions surround Baker Dunleavy as 2022-23 is his final season under contract as head coach of the men’s basketball team.
(Connor Lawless)

That is why Rigoni, the player who’s donned the Quinnipiac uniform in more games than anyone in the program’s history, expressed his belief in the coach that recruited him  unprompted in his last postgame press conference.

“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but just being in that locker room every single day and being with this coaching staff, coach Dunleavy and all of our assistants, there’s no one more dedicated to the team and doing the job for us and trying to put us in the best position to win,” Rigoni said. “There’s no question that he should be leading this team, and I’m really thankful to be a part of that.”

The Quinnipiac men’s basketball season can be remembered in a number of ways, but one thing is certain. This season was memorable, which is not always a guarantee.